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The Sins of Our Fathers; History Class
Topic Started: Oct 24 2012, 03:12 AM (630 Views)
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When Mr. Johnson said they would be going over the lead-up to the American Revolution in terms of the men that were pivotal in its inception, Frank couldn't contain his excitement. No matter how many times he reviewed the material, it never failed to inflame his sense of patriotism. Something about learning the beginning of your country's rise to power could do much for yourself.

He sat up, ramrod straight, at rapt, military attention as they went over chapter 12 in their textbooks. The only thing that bothered him was the fact that some of the...less passionate students seemed less than interested. He could understand this for math, with its torrent of meaningless numbers, or English, because of the constant need to write papers. But this was goddamn History. With the capital H.

It didn't matter much. He figured he could always "tutor" a few students if their interests weren't in line with his. The teachers gave him some line to work with, and he never failed to deliver. If he had to use that line to hang some of the "lesser" students, so be it.

It was the proper thing to do.


Edited by outfoxd, Oct 24 2012, 03:15 AM.
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((Louisa Bloom continued from The Problems of Three Little People))

Dum da-da dum da-da dum da-da dum
A constant beat over the hills.
The boys march forward in unison.
Dum da-da dum da-da dum da-da dum.

Boys so young, so inexperienced,
ready to die for their beliefs.
They are attentive to the beat of the drum.
Dum da-da dum da-da dum da-da dum.

Louisa chewed on her pen cap as she looked at the poem she was writing in her journal. She had time before History class began, so she figured she might try to write something. They were studying the American Revolution, a period Louisa found to be very interesting.

There was something romantic about it. America was such a young country then, not even a country by formal standards. It was a period where men fought and died for their beliefs, fighting against the oppression of the monarch. It's where America began as a culture and identity. It was simpler, but had a lot of promise. It was a time that really made her think about her life and her country.

I wonder what Washington and company would say if they saw what became of America today. Eh, let's get back to writing.

Louisa tapped her pen on her desk as she tried to think about what else to write. Dum da-da dum da-da dum da-da dum.
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"So, I'm assigning a partner project to be done next week. A collaborative research paper," Mr. Johnson was saying, right after finishing up a review of the reasons for the Declaration of independence. Frank cringed, only a little. He enjoyed writing history papers. He didn't so much for groupwork and partner projects. Judging by some of the dejected faces, his sentiment wasn't in the minority.

"You are to choose a figure of the American Revolution. The paper is to focus on what their contribution to American independence was. Ten pages." A groan rose from the class, one that Mr. Johnson ignored. "I'm allowing you to choose your own partners, starting today, and I will allot some class time to begin planning." Mr. Johnson glanced at the clock, and waved with his palm to indicate the students find partners.

Frank rose to his feet, and was quick to note that several of the students averted their eyes when his gaze raked theirs. It was in his survey of the room he noticed that one girl hadn't yet gotten a partner. So he strode over purposefully, caught the back of a chair with one hand, turned it and slipped in to face her. He rested his elbows on the table and leaned forward.

"Frank. Don't believe I've caught your name." He said. He didn't bother pointing out how odd it was he didn't know the name of someone he'd been going to school with all year. He just didn't bother learning it until it became necessary.

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Louisa listened to the lecture and took as many notes as she could. The Declaration of Independence, what a fascinating document. It was a ballsy move on Jefferson's part to write such a thing, one that could have gotten him and the other revolutionary conspirators killed, but it showed his philosophy and the philosophy of America. Louisa just loved it. It made her think of her secret poems and made her wonder how much she and Jefferson would have had in common if they lived in the same time period.

Oh man, to be friends with Thomas Jefferson, now that's an awesome fantasy.

Mr. Johnson then announced the group project on a figure of the American Revolution and their contribution to independence.

Okay, an essay. Not a problem. But, I do have to work with someone else, and Tori and Maxim aren't in this class. Well, this might be fun. Get to work with someone new, write analytically, turn in an awesome essay. Perfect.

Mr. Johnson let everyone get to work. Louisa twirled her pen in her hand. She wasn't sure who to work with. It seemed like most kids were already getting into pairs. She continued to scan around the room when someone sat in front of her. He introduced himself as Frank and asked for her name.

"Oh, I'm Louisa."

He doesn't know my name? How long have we been in this class together? Wait, calm down. Frank's one of Patriot High's glorious football players. You're Louisa the poet. Of course he wouldn't know you. He was probably drawn to you by the brightness of your hair. Well, I still got to do this essay, and he might be fine to work with.

Louisa grabbed her notebook and began to scan the pages.

"So, is there anyone you think we should write about?"
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"Louisa." Frank turned the name around in his mouth, as if approving it. It passed muster. He nodded.

"I think we should do the report on George Washington." Frank said. The finality of his words made it seem as if there would be no further consideration on the issue.

"Commander of the Continental army, first president. His actions put down a lot of enemies of the country and made sure we are what we are today. I think he's a perfect choice." He added. A small, pleased smile seemed to be turning up the corners of his lips.
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Frank thought they should do their essay on George Washington. He sounded pretty determined to write about Washington. He even named a few points about Washington that he felt demonstrated how important Washington was to the creation of America.

Well, Washington is a good figure. The man pretty much set the precedent.

"Yeah, Washington sounds good," she said.

Louisa flipped open her notebook and began to write.

"Alright, so he led the Continental Army, was the first President. He also did a few other important things for our nation. He also presided over the Constitutional Convention and set about a few standards we often have with the President, like serving two terms and being referred to as Mr. President."

"So, we probably should trace a few important details about his life and try to detail how he left an effect on America as we see today. We've got his early life as a plantation owner, his military career, and his presidency, so I bet there's enough to salvage for this topic."

Louisa looked up at Frank.

"Am I moving too fast?"
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Frank shook his head, his expression drawing back into a sneer. "Too much, too quickly." He pulled his messenger bag closer to him, unzipped it and started withdrawing his textbook.

"Good papers focus, and draw the content from a small section." He set his book on the table. "I think we should focus on his military career. It's true he wasn't a great general, but he made up for it in other ways."

Frank opened the book, started skimming through for a section. As he was looking, he kept talking, "Remember the battle where he waited until the enemy was drunk and tired from celebrating Christmas or something like that? That's what I think we should draw ourselves in on." Frank stopped skimming, smiled. "His pragmatism. And when you get right down to it, that's what makes us great. Ruthless, simple, pragmatism."
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Oh great. This is how he views Washington.

Louisa listened as Frank explained why he thought Washington's only influence was through brash military tactics. It was through praise of pragmatism and sneak attacks that made her a little queasy.

Jesus, I can't write pro-military detritus, not even for school. Let me try something.

"Well, that's a good point," she began, "but I think focusing solely on his military career can limit our scope on everything Washington did as a Founding Father. The war itself lasted for only a few years. He had plenty of influence before the war and after the war, so I think it would be kind of foolish to ignore that."

"Plus, that's how we can write the essay, by studying various periods of his life and the traces of his work as a politician and military commander. That way we can build a strong thesis and be able to back it up with plenty of support."

Louisa brushed her hair behind her ear. She hoped that made sense to him. At least it sounded like her claim was "we can write a better essay" and not "I don't want to write xenophobic, jingoistic bullshit." They had to get to ten pages somehow.
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Frank rankled at the word "foolish", but he kept his tongue. He didn't need to alienate a partner when part of his grade was working with her. He wasn't sure he managed to keep the irritation completely out of his eyes.

She wanted to go with more than his military history? He supposed he was fine with that. But he'd be damned if he gave her much help on anything else. He brought up Washington, the General. So that's what he would be writing about.

"Alright then." He nodded. "I'll take care of the military stuff then. I should be able to get my half of the paper with that. You do whatever you think is important, and we can make it hang together when we have drafts." Yeah, he could be collaborative. As long as he was making the arrangements. Sounded alright to him.
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Louisa nodded as Frank accepted his part of the project. She let out an internal sigh of relief. Sure, Frank clearly believed in the militaristic mantra of the country, but even he could see that she had a good idea for tackling the paper.

"Alright, that works for me," she responded, making some notes on her paper.

"So, you'll chart his military career, and I'll look at his political career. We should probably meet sometime later this week to dish this out. When are you available to meet? I'm generally available every day after school except Fridays."

I can do this. I know what I'm writing, and I'm sure I can be diplomatic with this project. Bring it on.
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Frank grunted, seemed like he wanted to turn away already. He chewed the inside of his cheek.

"Depends on how late after school is 'after school'." He leaned back in his chair and started to put away his textbook. "I got football practice every weekday. Coach isn't keen on downtime."

With that stated, Frank looked the girl over, as if seeing her for real for the first time. She wasn't all that bad to look at. Maybe a bit too much of an "artist" for his tastes. But not too bad.

"'Course, we could meet afterwards for quick dinner or something after. My dad just got me a car. Ford Focus. Great piece of American engineering, y'know?" He flashed her a winning smile with a mouth full of even, startlingly white teeth. "Sound good?"
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Louisa listened as Frank explained having to wait until after he finished football. Part of her was annoyed by that. Sure, Frank could use football to get a scholarship and further his chances of getting a good degree and making something useful of his life instead of being just a mindless American military nutjob (Hah!), but still, it meant she had to wait longer before working on the project, which would cut into her evenings.

'Course, we could meet afterwards for quick dinner or something after. My dad just got me a car. Ford Focus. Great piece of American engineering, y'know? Sound good?

He flashed his teeth at Louisa. She felt a twitch in the corner of her mouth. She bit her cheek to make sure she didn't laugh. She really couldn't believe that Frank was talking to her like that. This was their first real conversation, and he was already flirting.

Dear lord, this project is going to be Hell, isn't it?

"Well, actually," Louisa stammered, "if it helps you at all, my family owns a restaurant. You can just stop by after practice and we can get to work. Have you ever been to Bloom's Pizza, or do you need directions?"
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Frank had seen the place once or twice, but he wasn't a fan of working his magic in unfamiliar territory. But if that's what he had to do, then whatever. Hell, there was an assignment to do, too.

"Yeah, I can find it. Unless you want to stick around after practice and ride with me there. Make the whole thing easier."

He smiled again, a little less of a sharkgrin and a little more of a friendly smile. Of course, it was hard to see many of Frank's smiles as particularly warm. One could tell he was amused by Louisa being flustered; he enjoyed it when people were off-balance around him.

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"I really should get home after school, actually," Louisa said. "I've got some other work I should get done, and I'm probably going to have to deal with my sister a bit. It'd be better if you just came by after practice."

"But anyways, it's near Marquette, just on Kilbourn Avenue. It shouldn't be that hard to find. We've got a fairly noticeable sign."

Louisa chuckled. It was kind of strange to be planning this kind of meetup with someone she was so unfamiliar with. Then again, they were going to be in a public space.

Well, at least Amos and Marie will be around to make sure it stays public.
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